Leon Edwards can’t catch a break. Despite dominating Nate Diaz for four of the five scheduled rounds in their UFC 263 welterweight main card fight, pundits are fixating on the fact that the Stockton native nearly finished the 29-year-old near the final bell. Ultimately Edwards survived and won the fight by decision, but that wasn’t enough to change the narrative this week. Here are three reasons why Edwards deserves a title shot
What a fight 🔥🔥🔥
Nate Diaz ALMOST gets the KO in the fifth round
— Awesemo (@Awesemo_Com) June 13, 2021
10-Fight Unbeaten Streak
With his win on Saturday night, Edwards pushed his unbeaten streak to 10 in a row. The last time Edwards lost was a December 2015 decision setback against (now currently champion) Usman back at UFC on FOX 17. Since that loss, Edwards has taken out the likes of Vicente Luque, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, and former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. Outside of the welterweight kingpin Usman, no other fighter in the top five has a longer unbeaten streak than Edwards.
— PaperChaserDotCom (@PaperChaserBlog) June 7, 2021
Five Rescheduled Fights Since Early 2020
One area that has hurt Edwards’ stock is his lack of activity in the cage. However, that’s all been due to unfortunate circumstances. First, he was slated to fight Tyron Woodley at UFC on ESPN+29 in March 2020 before the pandemic hit. Travel restrictions in the UK were halted due to COVID-19, which kept him stateside for months. Woodley would go on to lose to Gilbert Burns, who earned a title shot off that victory. Then Edwards was forced into matchup against unranked Khamzat Chimaev before that fight was cancelled on threes separate occasions. Even the Diaz fight was slated to take place in March, before an injury forced ‘The Ultimate Fighter winner to postpone the fight to this month. If anything, Edwards has been a company man through and through despite the circumstances.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 11, 2021
Why The Rush?
Many people, including Dana White are arguing that Colby Covington should get the next shot at welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. I have no issue with that and think you could still give Edwards the title shot with this in place. Edwards just went five rounds with Diaz over the weekend and has been in numerous training camps over the last year for fights that ended up getting rescheduled. Why the rush to see him get back in there? You could still do a potential Usman-Covington fight later this year and give Edwards the winner in the Winter or Early 2022. Yes Edwards hasn’t had much activity in the Octagon over the last year in a bit, but this satisfies both parties. Edwards gets his title shot and Usman can settle his score with Covington.